This week marks the start of the examination of the Vale of the White Horse District Council Local Plan, as reported in the Oxford Mail, and the housing targets have been branded “worthy of Lewis Carroll”. It seems Hart District residents are also being asked to believe six impossible things before breakfast.
One of the key issues at White Horse is the credibility of the housing target because it is derived from some very questionable jobs forecasts. Here is a quote from their article:
“The logic is very simple. The number of jobs which theoretically could be created between now and 2031 was calculated. They then used these figures to estimate how many houses would be needed if these jobs materialised. The problem is that if the jobs projection is fantasy, as many people think it is, then the “objectively assessed” housing number is also fantasy.
A company called GL Hearn was then commissioned by our district councils to estimate housing need, assuming that all of these forecast jobs will actually exist. This is the Oxfordshire Strategic Housing Market Assessment, or SHMA.
There are many who believe that this is a story worthy of Lewis Carroll himself.”
Of course this is a very similar situation to that in which we find our selves in Hart, Rushmoor and Surrey Heath, where the jobs forecasts in the SHMA assume a growth in jobs almost twice that we achieved in the period 1998-2012 and will lead to a massive increase in the proportion of working age people in employment.
|Data Point||2011 (Census)||2011 (BRES)||2031 (PROJ 2)||2031 (PROJ 5)|
|SHMA Population (a)||272,394||272,394||307,578||322,278|
|People in employment (b)||122,300||125,000||162,233||170,223|
|Overall % in employment (b/a)||44.9%||45.9%||52.7%||52.8%|
|People over 70 (c)||28,559||28,559||51,164||51,164|
|People 5-19 (d)||67,375||67,375||73,206||73,206|
|People of working age (a-c-d)=e||176,460||176,460||183,208||197,908|
|% working age in employment (b/e)||69.3%||70.8%||88.6%||86.0%|
It seems we are being asked to believe in six impossible things before breakfast, just like the Vale of White Horse. It remains to be seen how the inspector will view the White Horse Housing Market Assessment.